Bildraum l Fernanda Fragateiro
25. September - 14. November, 2009.
Arratia Beer is very pleased to present “Bildraum”, Fernanda Fragateiro’s first solo show in Germany.
Fernanda Fragateiro is one of the leading contemporary Portuguese artists, known by her minimal sculptural and architectural interventions and installations in unexpected spaces (a monastery, an orphanage, or dilapidated houses) and by works that continuously and subtlety engage two historically antagonistic movements; the modernist and the feminist project.
For this exhibition Fragateiro has produced a new body of sculptural pieces, which gravitates around thoughts and objects generated in Germany and specifically in Berlin. “In some instances,” remarks the artist, “the contact with these ‘matters’ was purely accidental and in others it was the result of an intentional quest.” One of currents of “Bildraum” is Fragateiro’s examination of the modernist project of the Bauhaus and specifically of the collaboration between Mies van der Rohe and the designer Lilly Reich: “Up to now it has not been clear what role Lilly Reich played in the designs for rooms and furniture by Mies. Mies and Lilly worked together closely from 1926 to 1939, and they exchanged artistic ideas constantly. Same of the projects are officially regarded as collaborations, but her name does not appear in association with others. In determining what she contributed to the design process, the answers are largely based on supposition and extend as far as the marked chauvinism with which Lilly Reich was relegated to the domestic realm (ie. fabrics and colors). ”Thus what looks at first glance to be a functional piece, Fragateiro’s MR10 Double Chair, is actually a sculpture where the tubular steel cantilevered chairs MR10 are duplicated, positioned as mirroring each other, and joined by hundred of monochromatic silk threads found in the Gütermann factory in Karlsruhe, Germany.
In its intriguing shape and formal beauty the piece springs from a process of “reading” through van der Rohe and Reich’s collaborative work in Berlin before the Second World War.This reading crisscrosses other works in the show such as (Not) Connecting #4, a wall sculpture made of Gütermann silk threads which, from a distance appears as a flat abstract surface and, in its formal and minimal purity, relates to the forms of both modernist painting and architecture while employing a material traditionally confined to the “feminine” realm. Another group of works in the exhibition revolve around Fragateiro’s ongoing project of re-configuring second hand and found books into sculptures, which expand the notion of drawing or in the words of the artist: “I began by cutting up a book and in this operation I found a drawing. It was not my hand that made it but rather my action that set off the discovery. The drawing contained within the book became visible.“I am very interested in this process: not drawing exactly, but rather revealing what was already there, using processes that I do not totally control. I think that cutting up books is not a common practice. Books are for reading but there is ‘something else in them.’ It depends on our capacity to see or not to see.”Thus (Not) Reading Kursbuch is a collection of Kursbuch magazines that the Goethe Institut Lissabon donated to the artist while (Not) Reading Walter Benjamin is made of old publications of Benjamin’s essays. In both works the spectator is teased to simultaneously imagine the content no longer accessible and to suspend the desire of literal knowledge in favor of the poetics of the object Fernanda Fragateiro (Born in Montijo, Portugal. Lives and works in Lisbon).
Fragateiro’s work has been exhibited at the Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Centro Atlântico de Arte Moderna, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Culturgest, Lisbon; - Fundacio ‘La Caixa,’ Caixa Forum, Barcelona. Her installations and site specific projects have been displayed in public spaces in diverse cities throughout Europe.1. Essay by Christiane Lange in “Mies and Modern Living” Hatje Canz, 2009.
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